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How to Make Healthier Choices When Eating Fast Food
Oct 4, 2018 / Nutrition / Pediatrics

By Stacey Maslow, MD
Southborough Medical Group Pediatrics

No matter where you live, you’re probably not far from a fast food restaurant. While convenient for our on-the-go lifestyles, many fast food offerings  are not beneficial to our overall health. However, by being selective and making informed choices it is possible to eat healthier at a typical fast food restaurant. Since fast food restaurants are now required by law to list calories and other nutrition information, it is easier than ever to eat healthier when you are on the go and do not have time to cook.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Go for grilled instead of fried
Looking forward to a chicken sandwich for lunch? Choosing the grilled version of a sandwich instead of the fried version of the same sandwich can prevent you from consuming excess fat and calories. Keep in mind when ordering fast food and choosing grilled or roasted meats it is best to choose meat that is lean and to avoid red meat and processed meats if possible.
 
Keep portion sizes small
Say goodbye to the Big Mac and other hamburgers with two or three patties.  A regular-size hamburger is always a better option. Some people may even find that items on the children’s menu are enough to satisfy them. If you order french fries, go for the smallest size, preferably baked over fried – this can save hundreds of calories and reduce your fat consumption.
 
Try a salad instead of a burger
A salad may not be the most popular item at a fast food restaurant, but it is usually the healthiest. However, be careful about ordering salads with deep-fried chicken or other meats as they can have more calories than a burger.  It is best to avoid salad dressing to reduce your calorie and fat intake.  If you do use dressing, always order your dressing on the side and use it sparingly.

Choose healthy side dishes
You won’t see them at the top of the menu, but many fast food restaurants do offer healthy side dishes. A side salad instead of french fries is always a better option. Or try a fruit bowl, apple slices, or yogurt to go with your meal.
 
Avoid those sugary beverages
Gulping down a large, 30-ounce regular soda with your fast-food meal is not a good idea. Many people don’t realize that a 30-ounce Coke is approximately 370 calories, more than a McDonald’s double-cheeseburger! Try having ice water with your meal.

Enjoying your meals in a healthy way can bring increased satisfaction to dining out. Bon appetite!

How to Make Healthier Choices When Eating Fast Food

About Stacey Maslow, MD

Dr. Maslow has been practicing medicine for 17 years. When asked why she became a doctor, Dr. Maslow explains, “As a small child I frequented urban areas while accompanying my grandmother on various immigration and health projects that were her passion. These experiences sparked my fascination with how city life effects people and their physical and emotional health.  I decided at the age of 11 that I wanted to be a doctor because I...

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